Pain Management

Pain management is one of the top reasons Australians seek out acupuncture and dry needling. Our Practitioners draw on our full suite of therapies to help manage pain and discomfort for our patients.

If you do not see your health issue listed here, please call us to discuss what we can do for you.

Neck pain

Neck pain can develop from a number of different factors: stress, poor posture, disc herniation, and injury just to name a few. For some individuals their neck dysfunction can also be a source of referral pain that is felt in the upper back, shoulder, head or arm. 

Change starts here.

During your orthopedic and postural assessment our Practitioners will assess all factors that can contribute to neck pain and dysfunction. A customized care plan around your goals and our assessment findings will then be designed and implemented starting on your first visit. Neck pain treatment is not limited to acupuncture or dry needling alone, but may also include: cupping therapy, massage therapy, IASTM, kinesio taping and/or corrective exercises. For information on specific neck conditions and treatment see our blog articles on levator scapula induced neck pain and thoracic outlet syndrome

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is an extremely mobile joint which puts it at risk of frequent injury. The four rotator cuff muscles and their tendons provide the primary support for the shoulder and are often the main areas of injury and strain.

Clinically the most common cause of shoulder pain that we see is shoulder impingement syndrome. This is a condition where some of the rotator cuff tendons and/or the shoulder bursa become compressed during particular shoulder movements. Typically suffers expereince sharp or catching type pain when lifting the arm overhead, putting on jackets or buttoning up bra straps. The pain can be felt in the top, side or front of the shoulder, however it is not uncommon for the pain to present in the upper arm between the shoulder and elbow.

Additional shoulder conditions that we also see clincally include: shoulder bursitis, frozen shoulder, rotator cuff tendinitis, bicipital tendinitis, and osteoarthritis of the shoulder. For specific information on shoulder impingement syndrome, frozen shoulder and the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder visit our blog. 

Change starts here.

An orthopedic assessment of the shoulder is always our first step in gaining a proper understanding of your injury and it's underlying cause(s). Once you have been assessed an individualized care plan that may include: acupuncture, dry needlingsoft tissue therapies, cupping, kinesio taping and corrective exercises will be implemented. 



Sciatica refers to pain that travels down the pathway of the sciatic nerve. Typically patients with sciatica experience pain on one side of the body (though it can develop on both sides) that originates in the buttock and travels down the back of the thigh and leg, with accompanying numbness and/or pins and needles sensation in the calf and foot.

The four most common causes of sciatica that we regularly see in our practice are:

Lumbar Disc Herniation 

  • A disc herniation or 'slipped disc' occurs when the inner portion of the disc known as the “nucleus pulposus” herniates or travels through the disc wall known as the “annulus”. The herniation of lumbar (lower back) intervertebral discs can compress the spinal nerve root, ligaments or the spinal cord itself, often triggering the sensation and pain known as sciatica. The site and severity of the sciatic pain will generally depend on the degree and location of the herniation. 

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

  • The Sacroiliac joint or commonly called the “SI joint” is located at the base of the spine. When there is a dysfunction of the SI joint it can irritate the L5 spinal nerve that sits on top of it causing sciatic-type pain.

Piriformis Syndrome

  • After the sciatic nerve leaves the lower back it travels under a deep muscle in the buttocks called the Piriformis. If the Piriformis spasms it can compress the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica-type pain.  When sciatica-type pain is caused by the impingement of the sciatic nerve by the Piriformis muscle this condition is called Piriformis syndrome and is not considered true sciatica.

Disc Degeneration

  • When one or more of the lumbar (lower back) intervertebral discs begins to degenerate due to ageing or injury, proteins from inside the disc can be released and irritate the adjacent spinal nerves resulting in sciatic pain.

Change starts here.

At Poke Acupuncture we have a very systematic sciatica treatment approach. Therapy begins with a thorough western orthopedic assessment of the spine for disc herniations, the sciatic nerve for tension, then the hips for muscular imbalances, the posterior chain (muscles on the backside of the body) for tension and trigger points, followed by an alignment check of the pelvis. Specific therapies will be chosen depending on your needs and assessment findings. Some of the therapies that will may be utilized include: acupuncture, massage therapy,  electro- acupuncturecupping therapy, dry needling herbal liniments, and corrective exercises. 

Lower back

Lower back pain is generally considered to be pain felt across the lower back area directly above and below the bones of the hip. However it is not uncommon for individuals to experience lower back pain solely on one side of the body, or to struggle with lower back pain that refers into the buttocks or the legs. 

Generally speaking lower back pain can develop from a number of different factors, however the most common causes that our Practitioners typically see stem from: disc herniations (bulges) and degeneration, spinal joint problems (facet joint syndromes) and muscular weaknesses and imbalances between the lower back and hips. 

Change starts here.

At Poke Acupuncture lower back pain treatment begins with a thorough western orthopedic assessment which evaluates the integrity of the hip and lumbar (low back) muscles, spine mobility, and pelvic positioning. Once assessed a customized care plan based on our findings and your goals will be designed and carried out. Your care plan may include a combination of: acupuncture, motor point acupuncture, cupping therapy, myofascial release and corrective exercises. For more information on specific lower back conditions see our blog articles on lower back spasm and sciatica.



Bursitis is a painful condition that involves the swelling of a fluid-filled, friction absorbing pad called a bursae. Bursae are found in the joints and can become swollen and painful from the extra friction and pressure that repetitive movements place on them. The most common types of bursitis that our practitioners see are hip bursitis, shoulder bursitis and knee bursitis.  

Change starts here.

Our Practitioners' care plan of bursitis involves using acupuncture to help reduce pain and shrink the inflammed bursae. All local weak joint stabilizing muscles along with any tense and tight bands of muscle that travel above and below the bursae will also be addressed as part of the treatment. 


Nerve Pain

Nerve pain, also known as neuropathic pain, develops when nerves become damaged, entrapped, or irritated. The tell tale signs of nerve pain are: electric sensations, shooting, burning or pins and needle type sensations in the area of complaint. The common types of nerve conditions our Practitioners see clinically include: sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, peripheral neuropathy and trigeminal neuralgia.

Change starts here.

Care plans for nerve pain begin with an orthopedic assessment to help gain a clearer picture of where the nerve may be entrapment or irritated. Then specific acupuncture and soft tissue techniques are used in or around the site of entrapment, and in other areas that may require attention. 

Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee Osteoarthritis is an extremely common form of arthritis. It occurs when cartilage (the flexible shock absorbing tissue found at the end of bones and inside the knee joint) begins to deteriorate over time. As it deteriorates, the cartilage fails to provide cushioning between the ends of the bones that meet inside the knee joint, which can result in damaged bone endings and pain of the knee. 

Change starts here.

In a systematic review of 12 randomized controlled trials, acupuncture was found to "significantly reduce pain intensity, to improve functional mobility and increase quality of life" in individuals suffering from knee osteoarthritis pain.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is brought on when the plantar fascia, a thick fibrous band that originates in the foot's heel and travels the length of the sole, develops micro-tearing or becomes inflamed. 

The plantar fascia is an integral component of the foot. It functions as an arch stabilizer, shock absorber and aids in properly distributing body weight along the foot when you are walking.  

Pain from plantar fasciitis usually develops gradually, with most individuals complaining of pain in the heel or medial (inner) arch of the foot that is worse with the first few steps of the day or after periods of inactivity. The pain will sometimes disappear with activity or when the foot is warmed up.  

Change starts here

Our initial assessment will look at the hips for weakness and muscular imbalances, the lower leg for referred pain patterns, and the feet for strength and their ability hold the arches.  Any issues in these areas can directly contribute to plantar fasciitis.  


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